Whose “Guy” Are You?

April 20, 2015

“I’ve got a guy.”

That was one of the key messages of a sales training event I visited recently. The new sales consultants were supposed to realize they didn’t need to know everything about the services they were providing – they had plenty of other “experts” to support various parts of the deal. It’s a lot easier to sell when you don’t have to know everything yourself.

Which leads me to ask the question: whose “guy” (or gal) are you? And do they know it?

Here’s why it matters:

Business Guy

You are someone’s “guy.”

If you’re working at all, you’re serving someone. It may be an outside customer, another department, a territory, an interest group – you name it. You may be someone’s car guy (car dealer or mechanic), teeth gal (dentist), organization guy (office manager) or even leadership guy (consultant). The first step is to think in those terms. Instead of simply identifying yourself by a job title (“I work in finance”), make your role personal to the people you serve (I’m your forecasting guy).

If you aren’t clear on who you support (or how), your level of service will be low.

Nothing kills progress like lack of clarity. Several years ago, one of my team’s clients in IT realized everyone in the organization was unhappy with them. It wasn’t due to poor quality, but rather that they didn’t set clear service expectations – and therefore couldn’t met or exceed them. No one knew exactly what to expect. Establishing clarity became the first order of business. The same goes for you. Be clear or what you provide and how.

Your value proposition is what will set you apart.

Your value proposition is the reason why your customers get greater value from working with you than they would from working with someone else (or with no one at all). You provide more products, higher quality, better service, lower price, peace of mind – whatever it is, be clear, confident and upfront about it.

If your customers don’t know you serve them, they won’t reach out.

I got a new automobile headlight guy last week. Honestly, I didn’t know I needed a headlight guy. But one of my friends recently started his own headlight business and explained that if my headlights fade, I’ll be a safety hazard to myself and others – and risk getting a ticket as well. It will be much safer and cheaper to let him take care of my problem. So from now on, if I have any headlight issues (or hear of any), I know who to call. But it wasn’t until we had that conversation that I realized I even needed a headlight guy. Your customers (or clients, colleagues, or followers) likely won’t know why (or how) to utilize you unless you tell them.

If you can’t be #1, do everything you can to be #2.

Sometimes, the people you try to serve will already have a “guy” who does what you do. That’s okay. Share your value proposition and let them know you’re still ready to serve them. And if you can’t be #1, communicate that you’ll be thrilled to be #2 and fully ready to fill-in when needed.

When things get busy and the workload piles up, don’t forget that it really is a privilege to be someone’s guy (or gal). At the end of the day, we’re all in the people business, regardless of what our day-to-day entails.

Nathan Magnuson is a leadership consultant, coach, trainer and thought leader.  Receive his ebook Trusted Leadership Advisor by subscribing to his website or   follow him on Twitter.